A loving school boy has presented £1,561 to Torbay Hospital maternity unit bereavement suite in memory of his brother Leo who was lost before birth.
During lockdown Charlie Williams, aged ten, of Kingsbridge, raised the funds from a sponsored long-distance walk/cycle and cross-trainer sessions to complete the equivalent distance from Land’s End to Torbay Hospital and back – 340 miles.
He presented the funds to maternity staff joined by his mother Caroline, sister Jessica aged three, and his dad Gavin, at the hospital, which is run by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust.
Anna Stewart, Senior Delivery Suite Midwife with the Trust, said: “Charlie is amazing for someone so young. He raised a significant amount of money for the maternity bereavement service to honour the memory of his baby brother Leo who was born sleeping last year. He is a real inspiration and was supported by his mum, dad and sister Jessica.
“Charlie said he just wanted to make a difference for other families who lose a baby. Such an amazing brother, what a legacy for baby Leo!”
Charlie said: “I really wanted to do something in my baby brother Leo’s memory. So, I raised some money to help Torbay Maternity Bereavement Unit so they can support other families who will need their care.
“It’s been a really upsetting time for all of us. The staff were amazing with my mum and dad when Leo was born sleeping.”
Charlie’s mother Caroline said: “We cannot thank all the staff enough for their care and support they gave to Leo and us. The midwives were absolutely amazing both before and after our son was born sleeping. We cannot fault the attentive care and support we received.
“We are so incredibly proud of Charlie and what he has achieved. He’s a very brave kind-hearted boy.’’
The Trust’s maternity bereavement service provides care for families who have lost a baby, between about 14 weeks of pregnancy and full term, throughout their induction of labour, labour and birth and enables them and their family to spend time with the baby after the birth.
The service provides a dedicated room, the Mary Delve suite, alongside the labour ward, which is furnished as a ‘home from home’ room. Midwives help families create memories and keepsakes including baby’s hand and foot prints, photographs and mementoes that are treasured for years to come.
Caroline added: “After hearing those heart-wrenching words ‘I’m sorry there’s no heartbeat’ and then facing the reality that I’m to give birth to our son sleeping, nothing will ever take the pain away from us.
“Being in the Mary Delve Suite with the outstanding support from the midwives and team, provided us with the comfort that we needed, in a room separate to the delivery suite. This was so important during what can only be described as the most traumatic time we have been through. It helped to be in a room which had a homely feel to it.
“The room had a calming feel to it and didn’t feel like we were in a clinical hospital ward. It provided some comfort and in a round-about way, put us at ease being in a room with home comforts and having the superb support of the team. We were reassured that there was no right or wrong way and we could spend as much time as we needed with our son.’’
The family were given a memory box and their midwife gave them prints of Leos hand and footprints and photos, which they will ‘treasure forever’. They also chose to have a blessing and naming ceremony for Leo performed by the hospital chaplain in the Mary Delve Suite.
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